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A perfectly serviceable production of George Bernard Shaw’s Candida about the a young poet declaring his love for the reverend’s wife and confronting the pastor about his suitability to her. It is a conventional staging of with a suitably well furnished front room but without anything that excites. The play starts slowly as in the previous production, not necessary the pace generally but in the speed of the dialogue. It feels like there is a specific effort to speak slowly. This is highlighted especially as it soon resumes to normal speed after 10 minutes or so. The slow start doesn’t really recover until the final act with the final pleas of the two to Candida and her decision. The strength of this last act almost has the effect of rendering the rest of the play irrelevant. But better late than never.

The direction unevenness extends to the cast. Holly Smith as Candida is charming and radiant, just as Candida should and is excellent in her part. Richard Ings is perfectly upright and again well cast as Reverend Morell. The yonung Eugene, played by Henry Proffit, possesses the awkwardness of a precocious poet. Tony Stansfield as Mr Burgess played the sleazy businessman too much like a pantomime character. But that has to do with the direction as much as the acting itself. This looseness, though useful for a comedy, can be seen throughout and used to sum up the whole production. And it works better in some parts than others.

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